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V-Day 2005 Welcome Letter from Eve Ensler

Thu, 12/16/2004

Dear Vagina Warriors,

Because of your efforts V-Day, and the spirit, energy and movement to end violence against women and girls, has spread wildly around the world. Last year there were 2300 events, celebrations, in over 1100 cities, villages and towns. From Delhi to Detroit women took back their bodies and their lives. I was lucky to be in Mumbai where I witnessed the extraordinary humor of a brilliant Indian cast performing “The Vagina Monologues” for hundreds and raising money for a local shelter. I was there in Tulsa, Oklahoma performing for 2500 Native Americans so that women there would be safe and free. I was there when 7000 people from all over the world marched on Juarez, Mexico and insisted that there be justice for the hundreds of disappeared women and safety for the living.

We have had huge victories. Our Agnes Pareiyo*, was elected Deputy Mayor of Narok, Kenya. V-Day Europe** was born. A young girl from the Anti-Rape Dolphin program in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya successfully fought off her rapist. A teenager brought “The Vagina Monologues” to her high school and the community stood behind her. Women made vagina cookies for their benefit in Cairo, Egypt. The list goes on and on.

Each one of these individual victories has begun to break through the wall of denial, shame, and secrecy that surrounds the seeming inevitability and acceptability of violence against women.

Unfortunately the violence continues. Whether it’s the rise of sexual assault against women soldiers in the U.S. military or rapes by football players on college campuses or the continued lack of security and support for women in Afghanistan and the terrible situation of women in Sudan; or the rampant escalation of sex trafficking of girls around the world. The epidemic goes on.

This year we must go further. We must show how central, how impacting, how contagious, how devastating this violence is to everything and everyone. We must transform our activism into real political power and vision. We must help vagina warriors become vagina leaders. This is the year we must see what we see, know what we know, say what we have to say.

This is the year where we bring V- Day to the smallest villages, into the places of most resistance and need, into our homes if necessary. This is the year where we stand, through our Spotlight, with the women of Iraq who have lost more freedom than they have gained as a consequence of the U.S. war and subsequent occupation. In Iraq where the incidents of rape and abduction by organized gangs has increased fear of sexual violence deterring women from returning to work or seeking employment and families from permitting their daughters to go to school.

This is the year where we end violence against women. Remember, I promised it would happen in 2005? We have a lot of work to do.

V-Day is an outrageous, global, personal, anarchic unstoppable movement. There are thousands, if not millions of us. We are everywhere. We have humor, intensity, sorrow, grace, and perseverance. We are having an impact.

Go further. Work harder. Believe deeper. Be bolder. Speak louder.
We will win.

Eve Ensler
V-Day Artistic Director and Founder, Playwright, Performer, & Activist

* Agnes: Visionary behind the V-Day Safe House for the Girls

** V-Day Europe: a collaboration between four European countries and funded by the European Commission will enable women activists throughout Europe to network and share ideas.